CAHOKIA, IL - At least 4 U.S. Army Helicopters were forced to make emergency landings in the St. Louis area due to rough weather on Monday. The pilots were on a training exercise and were working their way back to Connecticut after starting out in California.
2 helicopters landed at Sparta Community Airport, 1 landed at Festus Memorial Airport and a 4th landed on an empty parking lot of a restaurant under renovations in Festus.
Luke Taytro is one of the owners of that restaurant. He looked outside when he heard the loud noise of the Chinook landing. He said it was difficult to even see the helicopter at first.
“It was just a mist, kind of like a huge cloud in the parking lot and then you could see the silhouette and right then I knew it was a military helicopter,” he said.
One of the workers inside the building heard the loud noise and wasn’t sure what was happening.
“I didn’t know if it was a tornado or what was going on,” said Scot Gary. “Come to look out the window and you couldn’t see nothing with all the rain blowing off that thing.”
The pilots will spend the night in the St. Louis area before resuming their trip back Connecticut.